that girl allison

I'm Allison. I see a ton of theatre. I'm a fan of Green Day, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Weezer, Oasis, Adam Rapp, Emily Giffin, and Shakespeare. I run sometimes, and do yoga always.

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thatgirlallison08 at gmail dot com

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Sometimes awesome stuff happens.

Like when my friend texted me at 6pm last night and asked if I was free because he had an extra ticket in one of the suites at Yankee Stadium. He knows I am repulsed by the Yankees beyond words, and they’re weren’t playing a team I’d actually root for instead (Texas Rangers). But once he says there’s free food involved and air conditioning, I turned my computer off and peaced out of the office. 

Side note: I stopped at home first to change into my team’s shirt (San Francisco Giants - I don’t care if they weren’t play in the stadium, they were playing somewhere that night!) and then headed up. I took a B uptown to my apartment but 15 minutes later, there were no more B trains to be found. This has happened to me more than once. So I took the C to 145th and then cabbed it over to the stadium (I directed the driver via Apple Maps on my phone - seriously, what cab driver in Manhattan doesn’t know how to get to Yankee Stadium??). 

The Yankees were up, then the Rangers were up and stayed up. I gorged on salad, roasted brussel sprouts, shrimp, brocoli rabe, and a couple slices of steak, with chocolate mousse for dessert. 

We were also watching the scores that were on the board from the other games being played that night and man, Boston massacred Toronto (14-1) and the Giants beat (I forget who) 7-4. 

My friend took the above photo right after Derek Jeter was struck out (after my friend emphasized how super-duper-awesomesauce he was). I also got to catch up with my friend, who I don’t see nearly as often as we’d both like. 

My team won, the Red Sox won, the Yankees lost, and I ate on the Yankees’ dime. It was a good night.

So the Labyrinth Theater’s production of The Muscles in Our Toes, by Stephen Belberclosed on Saturday night, but I wanted to write about it regardless. Because it was really ridiculous (in a good way).

The Muscles in Our Toes was a ridiculous comedy about a bunch of high school friends coming together for their 25 year reunion. When one of their beloved classmates has supposedly been kidnapped in Africa and nothing is being done to get him back, this group of old friends devises a plan to wake the government up themselves.

Does it sound ridiculous? Well it was. It definitely was. Was it entertaining? Oh yes, it was that too.

Bill Dawes as Les lead the cast fearlessly. Amir Arison was hilarious and probably my favorite of them all. Rounding out the small ensemble cast was Samuel Ray Gates, Matthew Maher, Jeanine Serralles, and Mather Zickel. 

They were all great, but the plot has the ridiculous confidence that most American’s have - which is too much. 

I plan buying this t-shirt at some point. Because it’s true. It’s really, really true. I went for a run (a quick-ish 2.something miles) this morning because I didn’t think I’d have a chance to go to a yoga class. I also stopped running what feels like forever ago (but was probably only a month ago), because I got bored, and I also hated distance running. 
The 2.something miles were fine. I finished them in under 20 minutes. But I was sweaty after (duh) and sore. And I decided that running, does indeed, suck. Running is good for your heart and your metabolism and that’s about it. I know people run marathons and half-marathons to prove to themselves that they can do it. That’s fine. But really, there are so many other activities that are good for your whole body and probably don’t destroy your knees.
Also: The first man in Greece who ran 26 miles died right after. I think that says something. Mainly: Humans are not made to run 26 miles at a time.
I also find running for extended periods of time to be incredibly boring. Doing the same thing for an hour just to get your heart rate up or prove something to your own ego? Meh. 
Give me yoga any day. At least it’s good for my entire body (and mind) and it won’t destroy my knees. I’ll continue to run mainly to burn calories, but I won’t attempt crazy distances because like the t-shirt says, running sucks. 
But hey, to each their own. If you enjoy running, go for it. 

I plan buying this t-shirt at some point. Because it’s true. It’s really, really true. I went for a run (a quick-ish 2.something miles) this morning because I didn’t think I’d have a chance to go to a yoga class. I also stopped running what feels like forever ago (but was probably only a month ago), because I got bored, and I also hated distance running. 

The 2.something miles were fine. I finished them in under 20 minutes. But I was sweaty after (duh) and sore. And I decided that running, does indeed, suck. Running is good for your heart and your metabolism and that’s about it. I know people run marathons and half-marathons to prove to themselves that they can do it. That’s fine. But really, there are so many other activities that are good for your whole body and probably don’t destroy your knees.

Also: The first man in Greece who ran 26 miles died right after. I think that says something. Mainly: Humans are not made to run 26 miles at a time.

I also find running for extended periods of time to be incredibly boring. Doing the same thing for an hour just to get your heart rate up or prove something to your own ego? Meh. 

Give me yoga any day. At least it’s good for my entire body (and mind) and it won’t destroy my knees. I’ll continue to run mainly to burn calories, but I won’t attempt crazy distances because like the t-shirt says, running sucks

But hey, to each their own. If you enjoy running, go for it. 

My new thing is to chat with guys very seldom before I meet them. Otherwise you develop this ridiculous person that you think they are based on their texts and it’s usually incredibly off.

So, I went on a date last night with a guy who, online, in the brief time I’d chatted with him, seemed nice enough. He was cute - in a quirky way. We met at Ninth Ward downtown. It looked like a cool place and they had happy hour.

He was nice. He was really nice. And he was kind of cute in person. Still quirky. But there were way too many pauses in our conversation. I didn’t know what to say to him, and even worse, I didn’t care. I just wanted to finish my beer and go home. And eat. I was really hungry and I didn’t want to order food there and have to spend more time with this person who I’d never see again. 

We decided we’d split the very minimal check (thank you, happy hour!) and when his debit card was declined twice, I picked up the tab. I was kind of pissed he didn’t even offer to swing by an ATM.

This is why I’ve never been on a date where I haven’t offered to pay my half. I can’t imagine how annoying it is to always pay for dates, even when they’re not going well. Sometimes the guys decline my offer, but sometimes they accept. 

Lesson here is: Ladies, it’s the 20th century. Don’t expect your date to pay for your alcohol or food. 

Awkward side note: Just noticed that this dude checked out my profile again at 2am last night. Oy vey. 

Am I the only one that has been out on first dates where the guy has at least 4 drinks? I can’t be the only one. I think New York is swimming with guys who have drinking problems simply because we don’t have to worry about driving. Anyways, I went on a date today with a guy who does everything in his power not to go anywhere for drinks or food on first dates. He’s not in AA, but he just likes to lift the alcohol blinders off his dates. Which I can totally understand and appreciate. 

We met in Central Park, in Strawberry Fields, with our DSLRs in hand, ready to take pictures and wander the paths. He was really nice. But slightly odd. We never took a single picture, but we wandered the paths for a couple of hours and talked. When I asked him how his experience dating in New York has been, he replied, “I don’t know. I haven’t given it much thought.” As though, why would you ever think about that instead of just going on with your day? 

It was an odd experience. At one point he said, “Can I be honest with you for a second? You seem defensive,” which I definitely was because I had no idea what to make of this guy. I wasn’t really expecting anything, but he was unlike any guy I’ve met recently.

That said: I don’t really think he was a spark so I most likely will not be seeing him again.

That said, part deux: I’d like to try this Dating Sans the Alcohol Blinders thing again soon. 

New York’s immersive theater scene has outdone themselves yet again. I was offered a ticket to The Queen of the Night last week and immediately jumped. Think Nutcracker Rouge meets The Great Comet of 1812 minus the literary source and Christmas. That’s what The Queen of the Night is. Or in other words: it’s a super erotica circus with a few dance breaks.

The entire night lasts about 3 hours. There’s about an hour of pre-show where you’re encouraged to go just walk around the space and explore, and if you’re lucky a cast member will pull you away and show you something neat that you hadn’t yet discovered. Some people were whisked away to meet the Queen who was standing on the stage for most of the pre-show. 

Once the show begins, all of the chairs that are messily piled onstage are ripped down and put around the tables that are scattered around the stage. I had been told to sit at a certain table by a cast member, so like an obedient audience member, I listened. 

After the story is introduced and there’s some impressive stuff onstage, they bring out huge platters of food that includes lobster, a rack of ribs, a full roast pig, potatoes gratin, kale salad, bone marrow, and of course, wine. Oh, and two vegetarian options which were roasted cauliflower and some mushroom dish that I didn’t try. We were served the rack of ribs at first but then encouraged to go to other tables to try what they had. Such a cool idea! Definitely a way to make the audience socialize.

After eating and another section of the show is performed, the cast rolls out huge white containers and tells us to throw out plates and everything on the table in them. That’s one way for a quick clean up!

Just so you know: You will get felt up, kissed, fed, and used (in the show).  I was singled out to be the girl who refuses the crazy character’s proposal for a happy ending with him (as in marriage, not an orgasm). I won’t lie - I loved the moment that we had in the spotlight. And then we danced again at the end of the show. I’m glad i listened to that one cast member on where to sit!

After the two main couples of the night get together and all is well, everyone dances (including the audience) and then cast members are lined up in various spots around the nightclub with lots of spoons and the most decadent chocolate cake you’ve ever tasted. As evident in the above photo, they feed it to you.

This is definitely more fun than Sleep No More, though the story is less clear than The Great Comet of 1812, and it’s definitely more immersive (and invasive!) than Here Lies Love (and twice as long). This probably ties with Here Lies Love - I love the historical aspects and music of Here Lies Love but who doesn’t love a free meal with their erotic circus acts? 

This is a definite New York experience to be had if you can deal with being touched by more strangers in one night than ever before. Tickets are not cheap but they’re definitely worth the price.

For more information, click here

What’s thirty? Just, you know, the end of youth.

It was August 24th, 2001, two-ish weeks before 9/11, when I was offered tickets to see the off-broadway production of Jonathan Larson’s tick… tick..BOOM! I was 15 and seeing Rent more often than not. My cousin, who lived on Christopher Street in Sheridan Square at the time, let me stay with her and walked me up West 4th Street, teaching me how to find my way around the crazy maze that is that West Village.

I made a sorta-last minute decision to buy tickets for Kristen and myself to the Encores’ staging of it which opened tonight. And I’m very glad I did. It was a trip down memory lane and I still remembered almost every word. The staging was almost the same as the also very minimalistic production at the Jane Street Theater.

Leslie Odom Jr. (now of Smash fame, though he was actually in Rent long ago) took on the role of Jon’s best friend Michael. He acted the part excellently and sounded great. Karen Olivo absolutely brought the house down with the 11 o’clock number “Come To Your Senses,” although she was primarily playing Jon’s girlfriend Susan.

And then there was Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jon. Sort of a big deal has been made in the theatre world lately about him paying tribute to Jonathan Larson and I get it. They’re both young composers who wrote ground-breaking musicals. Yes, I get it. So I was expecting a stellar performance, and emotionally and acting-wise, it was. Miranda was great on that level. Vocally? He was mediocre (at best). He got through In The Heights because it was mostly rap but how can you take over a role originated by the vocal brilliance of Raul Esparza and have virtually no upper register or any ability to hold notes for any sustained period of time? He was vocally disappointing. He also wore a beanie which was confusing because in all of the photos that I’ve ever seen of Jonathan Larson, he did not, ever wear a beanie. 

ttB! struck a new chord with me because I was 15 last time I saw it and now I’m less than two years away from being 30. It’s also largely about the really tough choice to pursue your dreams or abandon it in favor of a stable and oftentimes boring career. Anyone who works in the arts can tell you that you don’t do it for money, you do it for love, because we don’t make a lot of money (unless you’re Sondheim, Webber, or David Stone, of course). I also didn’t understand this quote when I was 15, but I understand it fully now:

It’s hard for people born after 1960 to be idealistic or original. We know what happens to ideals. They’re assassinated or corrupted or co-opted. It’s 1990 for God’s sake. It is not an exciting period. It is not a period of ferment. It’s fucking stodgy is what it is — conservative, complacent, obtuse and unimaginative. Or, to put it another way: George Bush is president of the United States.”

This was a lovely, emotional trip to an old favorite of mine that resonated with new meaning almost 15 years later. Totally worth the $27. 

It plays through Saturday - get your tickets now!

A few weeks ago I saw Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill at the Circle in the Square Theater starring the magnificent Audra McDonald. 

I knew nothing about Billie Holiday, nor did I know most of her song catalogue. It was all really pretty music and it was interesting to learn so much about this musical icon. 

Although McDonald is fabulous in everything she does, this included, but I left this show asking the same thing I did after End of the Rainbow, “Why?” As in, what was the point? 

I have no idea but I’ll just think of this a music history lesson and consider myself incredibly lucky to see Audra McDonald onstage again. 

Everyone here knows that Adam Rapp is one of my favorite playwrights. i’ve seen 99% of his work that’s been produced in the city since I saw Red Light Winter in 2006. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make his reading/talkback/signing about The Hallway Trilogy at the Drama Book Shop today, but luckily we packed it in at a decent hour at work and I ran two blocks over.

He’s very visibly not entirely comfortable speaking in public, which is expected because he’s a playwright, not an actor. He looked down most of the time, avoiding eye contact. He read a short passage with the woman from the Theater Communication Group from The Hallway Trilogy, answered several questions about the genres he writes about, the characters he often writes, and a few questions about The Hallway Trilogy itself.

Then Nick Lawson and the actress whose name I can’t remember came up (there was actually a number of cast members from the off-Broadway production a few years ago in attendance) and read part of a scene from Paraffin (the second in the trilogy). Afterward he took more questions and I asked if he will ever write for Broadway, knowing that he’s turned down Broadway before because it’s not where his audience is. He said he’s turned down Broadway twice and since the New York Times is not a big fan of his, he doesn’t think there are any producers who’d take a chance on him anytime soon. (He jokingly said that he needs to wait for new critics to come to the Times.)

Afterward he signed copies of his plays so I bought a copy of The Hallway Trilogy (because it’s an awesome body of literature, duh), asked him a few questions about Red Light Winter on screen (he hopes they’ll start filming in January), shook his hand, and headed out. 

Did you know that Venus in Fur had been translated into a movie? And one in French, nevertheless? Me neither. But it was directed by Roman Polanski and starred his wife in the role of Vanda. I love this play and I was super excited to see the movie translation. 

At Symphony Space on the UWS tonight, I had the opportunity to see a small screening of this film that came out at last year’s Cannes. The screening was followed by a talkback with playwright and screenwriter David Ives (pictured above, on the right). I really enjoyed the movie - it very closely followed the script. I will admit that I was wishing the entire time that it was Nina Arianda on screen, but what can you do. And that’s not to say that Emmanuelle Seigner was bad, at all. I just love Arianda.

Afterwards Ives talked about the collaboration with Polanski on writing the film (him and his wife just spent a few weeks in Switzerland with Polanski and his wife). He talked about the first, very brief message that Polanski ever left on his answering machine. He talked about the subtitles being a mess at first and then he took questions from the audience.  There was a lot of inquiry having to do with the ambiguousness of the theatre and how that gets a little bit less-so with a film. At one point he said, “Nobody is real onstage. Everyone is a metaphor for something else." I thought that was kind of brilliant.

It’s a great film. I highly recommend it. 

PS: David Ives is currently working with Stephen Sondheim on a new musical. So, there’s that.